After years of hard work by grassroots activists and environmental organizations across the state, the Elliott State Forest is no longer up for sale! Oregon’s only old-growth State Forest will stay in public hands for generations to come, but our work is not yet fully complete. Oregonians like you still have chance to contact state leaders and advocate for the protection of the Elliott’s old-growth forest.
The Elliott State Forest is 82,000-acres of publicly owned forest in Oregon’s Coast Range just north of Coos Bay that has historically been logged to provide funding for Oregon’s Common School Fund. Tying logging revenue to school funding was envisioned at a time when old-growth forest and wildlife seemed limitless, but after a century of unsustainable logging practices this program is increasingly in conflict with Oregon’s modern conservation values. Today only 41,000 acres of the Elliott’s old-growth forest remains, making the public forest one of the largest uncut areas left in the Oregon Coast Range.
The Elliott is an ecological treasure and it belongs to all Oregonians. Surrounded on three sides by industrially managed tree plantations and clearcuts, the Elliott provides an island of critical habitat for numerous imperiled species such as the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, elk, and several kinds of salmon. In fact, 22% of all wild Oregon Coast Coho salmon originate in the Elliott’s rivers and streams! The old-growth trees within the State Forest also help mitigate climate change by capturing and storing vast amounts of carbon, and they also improve water quality by absorbing, storing, filtering, and gradually releasing clean water into forest streams.
Public Forest for Sale
In February 2017, two of the three members of Oregon's State Land Board voted to sell the Elliott State Forest to a private timber company to be clearcut. In the weeks following the privatization vote, Oregon Wild and coalition partners helped mobilize a powerful grassroots response to Democrat Tobias Read's decision to sell the forest. The people’s response was tremendous and after receiving thousands upon thousands of emails, calls, and postcards, Tobias Read shockingly reversed his position and expressed support for keeping the forest public! Then on May 9, something incredible happened: Read, Gov. Kate Brown, and Republican Dennis Richardson all voted unanimously to halt the sale and keep the Elliott public!
Not so long ago, the sale of this forest seemed inevitable, and while there are still unanswered questions about the future of the Elliott, at least now we know this precious public land will stay in public hands. Now our state leaders are trying to determine how much of the forest’s uncut old-growth will remain standing, which is where you come in:
Call your state leaders to ask for a strong, pro-conservation management plan that protects all trees over 100 years old!
- Oregon Governor Kate Brown - (503) 378-4582
- State Treasurer Tobias Read - (503) 378-4329
- Secretary of State Dennis Richardson - (503) 986-1523